Poland will spend 4 percent of its GDP on defense this year, becoming the largest contributor relative to its economy in NATO, the country’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Monday.
Speaking at a press conference in Siedlce, where he met with soldiers of the 18th Mechanized Division, Morawiecki insisted there is no strong state without a strong army, and claimed the war in Ukraine has prompted his government to increase its defense capacity.
He said it was now his government’s “highest, absolute priority” to bolster the country’s armed forces and increase the NATO presence on Polish territory.
Poland had previously vowed to ramp up its defense spending to 3 percent of GDP in 2023 back in March last year; however, the continued conflict in the country’s southeast neighbor “makes it necessary for us to arm ourselves even faster,” Morawiecki told journalists.
At 4 percent, Poland would become the NATO member with the largest commitment relative to its economy, surpassing Greece’s 3.87 percent recorded in 2021.
Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak revealed last July the country’s intention to possess the “strongest land forces in Europe,” reaching a deal with South Korea for highly advanced K2 Black Panther tanks, as well as an agreement for these tanks to be produced in Poland in the future.
The Polish government also procured Patriot and Himars systems, F-35 fighter jets, and Abrams tanks from the United States, and green-lighted the building of three additional Kormoran II class destroyer vessels.
In March last year, Poland signed an agreement with the United Kingdom for the country’s Sky Sabre defense system together with a 100-man crew to back up Poland’s air defenses.
Following the news of what is now believed to be a stray Ukrainian missile that hit the Polish village of Przewodów in November last year, Polish President Andrzej Duda called for a strengthening of the NATO presence on the country’s eastern flank. He also welcomed moves by NATO members to station their troops deeper into Polish territory.